Professional boxing returns to London’s Copper Box Arena on Saturday, Jan. 30. The event is a joint promotion of Matchroom Boxing and Team Sauerland.
The show marks the return of popular super middleweight George Groves (21-3, 16 KOs) who is ranked #4 in the super middleweight division in the latest rankings by the authoritative Transnational Boxing Board. Groves (21-3, 16 KOs) opposes Andrea Di Luisa (18-3 14 KOs). There are conflicting reports as to whether this will be a 12-round or 10-round contest. The official site for Matchroom Boxing lists the contest for 12 rounds.
Groves has competed in three world title fights, two of which were against countryman Carl Froch. His second meeting with Froch was contested before 80,000 at Wembley Stadium. In his last outing, in Las Vegas underneath Mayweather-Berto, Groves lost a split decision to Badou Jack in a bout sanctioned by the WBC for Jack’s super middleweight title.
Since then Groves has switched trainers, casting his lot with Shane McGuigan. The 26-year-old McGuigan, the son of legendary Irish boxer Barry McGuigan, seems destined to become the Freddie Roach of the United Kingdom. McGuigan also recently had a hand in preparing David Haye for his return earlier this month.
Di Luisa won 11 of his first 12 fights by knockout. In his lone previous appearance outside his native Italy, Di Luisa was stopped in four rounds by Lucien Bute in Montreal.
In another featured bout, this one unequivocally set for 12 rounds, London’s John Ryder (21-2, 12 KOs) opposes Belarussian banger Sergey Khomitsky (30-12-3, 13 KOs). Ryder, a southpaw, appeared on the inaugural Copper Box boxing show where he came up a short in a robust 12-round contest with currently undefeated Billy Joe Saunders.
The 41-year-old Khomitsky has fought such notables as Gennady Golovkin, Martin Murray, and Robert Stieglitz. In his last fight in London, he scored a shocking one-punch knockout over unbeaten Adam Etches. Khomitsky last fought in October of last year, losing a 12-round decision to hometown hero Alfonso Blanco in Caracas, Venezuela.
Another 12-round contest finds John Wayne Hibbert (16-3, 10 KOs) defending his Commonwealth super lightweight belt against Tommy Martin (13-0, 5 KOs).
Hibbert won the title on September 12 of last year with a dramatic 10th round stoppage of Dave Ryan in their third meeting. Hibbert was trailing on the scorecards when he landed a thunderous right hand that forced Ryan to retire with a back injury. The 21-year-old Martin owns two minor regional belts, but is stepping up in class.
Ten more fights, including three scheduled for 10 rounds, gird the show – one of the deepest boxing cards in recent memory.
Check out this Boxing Channel Odds Review video for the latest lines on this Saturday's fights.